The Dogwood Health Trust is offering to split the bill with the city of Asheville for the purchase of a $2.5 million property that could expand both transit and affordable housing downtown.
During the Tuesday, May 25, meeting of Asheville City Council, members will vote on whether to partner with the nonprofit to buy a 0.9-acre parcel at 50 Asheland Ave. bordering the current Asheville Rides Transit bus station at 49 Coxe Ave. The land would be earmarked for a “transit-oriented development” designed to combine a larger transit center with affordable housing and commercial space.
According to a staff report, the property, known as the Talbert Lot, has been leased by the city since 2018 to provide paid monthly parking for downtown workers. No funding has been allocated for planned improvements on the site, and no estimates of what the eventual project might cost were provided.
The Dogwood Health Trust would contribute $1.25 million for the purchase, while the city would be responsible for the remaining $1.25 million and $75,000 in due diligence costs. If the transaction is approved by a majority of Council members, Asheville would close on the property in June. The space would then continue to serve as paid public parking while the city conducts planning and public engagement around future use of the property.
In other news
City Manager Debra Campbell will present her proposal for the city’s 2021-22 annual operating budget. No materials have been provided ahead of the presentation. A budget work session and public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 8; the final vote on the budget will take place Tuesday, June 22.
And a planned public hearing on changes to Asheville’s homestay ordinance, previously scheduled for May 11, has once again been tabled. The new date for the hearing is Tuesday, Sept. 28, a delay of more than four months.
Consent agenda and public comment
The consent agenda for the meeting contains eight items, which will be approved as a package unless singled out for separate discussion. Highlights include the following resolutions:
- A contract amendment with Curbside Management for recycling collection and processing services. The new contract will increase recycling costs for the city from $3.15 to $3.80 per month per resident, a boost of more than 20%; however, residents will continue to pay $14 per month for combined trash, recycling and yard waste service.
- Two budget amendments accepting grants of $14,000 and $2,000, respectively, from the Rotary Clubs of Asheville-Biltmore and Arden and Montford Neighborhood Association for bus stop improvements. The money will pay for the installation of two bus shelters on Hendersonville Road at Gerber Road and Turtle Creek, as well as the replacement of an existing bus shelter on Montford Avenue at Bulldog Drive.
- A budget amendment to allocate $438,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward a series of contracts for emergency non-congregate housing in three local hotels for people experiencing homelessness. According to a staff report, the initiative has so far served 116 people.
The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found at this link. Although the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners returned to in-person meetings on May 18, Council will continue to meet remotely until further notice “for safety and to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.” The meeting will be livestreamed through Asheville’s public engagement hub.
Members of the public who wish to speak during the meeting must sign up in advance at this link or call 828-259-5900 no later than 9 a.m. May 25. City staff will use the list of registered speakers to manage the speaker queue during the meeting.
Prerecorded voicemail messages can also be left at 855-925-2801, meeting code 8370; written comments can be sent to AshevilleCityCouncilMay252021@PublicInput.com. Emails will be accepted for 24 hours after each public hearing.